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Ronald W. Chan

Superman, the Oracle, and the Value of a Long View

Li Ka-shing bowed out with a 5,000-fold return over 46 years.

Warren Buffett and Li Ka-shing.

Warren Buffett and Li Ka-shing.

Photographers: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg (Buffett); Paul Yeung/Bloomberg (Li).

The richest man in Hong Kong, Li Ka-shing, hosted his final shareholder meeting as founder and chairman of the Cheung Kong group last week. Hundreds of investors turned up to see the businessman known locally as Superman in action for the last time.

In a career of 60-plus years building a conglomerate that ranges from property development to utilities, from telecommunications to retail, and from aircraft leasing to life sciences, Li has drawn broad praise for his management, dealmaking and market-timing skills. Sometimes overlooked are the investment returns he has generated for shareholders.